Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Feel (emotions) (08/26/10)
TITLE: God Made Arms For Hugging
By Pamela Calhoun
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Brandon left this world just 19 days before his 22nd birthday. He didn’t make it to work that day. As he traveled up a winding mountain road we’ll never know why his car crossed the center line and ended up under the rear axle of a logging truck making it’s way down the mountain. But instantly he was gone, gone from this world.
Horrifying phone calls were made and parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends were forced to deal with the shock. Suddenly life as they knew it stopped as everyone dropped what they were doing to gather and grieve the loss of Brandon. They flew from the East to the West Coast, drove from the North, South and West. As they cried, laughed, ate, slept, sat quietly and even played together, one thing remained… the hugging never stopped.
I experienced my first Carter hug seven years earlier when I began spending time with my husband. We’d been friends and were becoming reacquainted after not seeing each other for many years. Leaving the restaurant we gave each other a quick hug at our cars. Well, I thought it would be a quick hug, but he just held onto me, for what seemed like the longest time. Hmmmm I thought, maybe he really likes me? I was eventually to realize that’s the way Carters hug. They hold each other as though it may be the last chance they’ll have to say; “you are really special to me.”
To my shame, I admit, I’ve felt uncomfortable at times when enduring a Carter hug. Not because they are inappropriate in any way, but because there is so much warmth, and coming from a family void of affection I didn’t understand them. We’ve had three deaths in my family. Those that could, gathered, never making eye contact we talked about things that made no difference to anyone, no one hugged, no one cried, and then we all went our separate ways to deal with our grief on our own and never talk about it.
I’ve spent four days now, watching and feeling grieving done right! I’ve seen people lean on each other for strength, heard gut wrenching sobs from the depths of the pain of loss, seen pictures that show a life filled with joy, and heard testimonies of people that were touched by that life. I’ve watched his family cry together and love one another through one of the most horrendous experiences a family can be asked to go through.
I’m very sorry I never met you Brandon, that is my loss. I would have loved to have seen your smile, heard your laugh and especially felt your hugs. But watching our family loose you has taught me that it’s ok to allow yourself to have feelings, and hugs should always be long enough to deliver their message.
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